is an incredible and magical experience. Harnessing the
wind to power you over the rolling swells of the ocean.
Happening upon a pod of dolphins, which decide to play and
chase the boat.
As in many sports, sailing
can be extremely relaxing or seriously competitive. And
as you'll find out, sailors are a breed apart. They're
world travelers and adventurers, following the wind and
currents. They are also great storytellers.
To enjoy sailing casually,
you don't really need much equipment, just some good sunscreen
and sunglasses. However, if you want to be taken seriously,
it is impressive to have the appropriate gear, not too
much but not too little. The original deck shoes or topsiders
look good, but there may be better options for you.
Here are some tips for you
on what you will need sailing
A Day on the Water
Bring sunscreen, sunglasses,
a baseball cap, and boat or tennis shoes. Make sure your
shoe choice has white bottoms or soles. Dark rubber soles
will mark up the deck of the boat. String bikinis may
be optimal for sun exposure, but they really aren't comfortable
on a boat. Besides, sunburns are just not worth the pain
and skin damage. The sun is extra strong on the water,
so always wear sunscreen!
As a new sailor, your first
big hurdle will be using the bathroom or head as it is
referred to on the boat. First rule of thumb, always go
to the bathroom right before you leave the dock. Bathrooms
on land are much more pleasant than at sea. Second, ask
the captain how the head works and have them show you.
They'll be happy to show you. Sometimes captains forget
to give a full tour of the boat and introduce new sailors
to all aspects of sailing including the head. Warning,
some boats don't have a head at all. They use a bucket!
Don't worry about it, all sailors have had some experience
with the bucket.
An Aggressive Sailing Experience
Boat shoes, sailing gloves,
a hat, and a jacket are necessary. The Sea breeze is much
cooler than the breeze on land, even in the tropics a
jacket is a good idea. It is also a good idea to bring
food and water. The captain and crew will always welcome
more food and beverages. You can work up quiet the appetite
on a boat. It is also not uncommon for a sail or a race
to take longer than it should. You're relying on the wind,
which can never be counted on. That extra snack will come
in handy, especially if your 8-hour race turns into 20
You will need foul weather
gear for rough sailing, rain, and overnight trips. Foul
weather gear is protective clothing, such as waterproof
jackets and pants. Having the right gear shows that you're
ready for business; the captain doesn't need to worry
about you, and that you'll be safe and comfortable. (Though
comfort on a boat is always relative.) All sailors are
envious of a good pair of foul weather gear or foulies
as they're affectionately termed. They'll last a long
time, so go ahead and get a good pair. It's worth the
investment. Having the proper gear can be a lifesaver
in severe weather conditions. Make sure they fit right.
- No black soled shoes.
They'll leave marks on the deck.
- No sun tanning oil. The
oil will get on the deck and make the deck slippery,
making it hard to stay on the boat.
- "Everything has
a home". Stowing or putting the boat away is a
serious event. Don't take it lightly. Captains have
specific ways to stow the boat. If you want to be asked
back, it's best to follow their lead or ask how they
want something put away.
- Bring a small line or
string to tie your baseball cap or hat to your clothes.
You don't make many friends by chasing things that fly
- Put sunscreen on before
you leave the house. The combination of direct sun and
the reflection off the water is very harsh. On a sailboat,
finding shade is impossible and spending the day down
below isn't a nice alternative.
- If you're sailing on
a big boat, make sure the captain has life jackets and
that you know where they are.
- If you're planning to
do small boat sailing or dingy sailing, get a life jacket.
Having a life jacket or PFD (personal floatation device)
that fits well and doesn't hinder your movement will
be an asset. Kayaking and windsurfing will also require
- Tell your friends where
you're going and when you should be back.
- Keep a watch out for
the boom and keep clear of lines and ropes. When the
skipper announces "ready about" it's a warning
that the boat is changing direction and the boom will
be moving to the other side. Keep low to the deck and
stay clear. Don't let any ropes or lines get looped
around your ankles or feet.